Thursday, January 29, 2015

Home, it really is where the heart is.

As I said last time, we really love our home.  Like they say "It ain't much, but it is all ours".  I don't really know who "They" are, but there are a lot of good sayings that come out of that group.

2005 brought some big changes in our lives.  Some were bitter, but we carry on.  It was time for another fix for the house.  This time a set of sliding patio doors.  6' wide.  Of course, where we (and by we I mean, that is where my wife wanted it) wanted it was 1/2 way into the old door, and the other end was 1/2 way into an existing window.  So to put in a 6' door, out comes about 12' of wall.

Well, I didn't take it all out at once.  I had some help from my daughter and my buddy Dan.  Of course Sally (my wife) is always helping, no matter what is going on.  I built up a lintel by laminating plywood together as it also had to function as the top plate.  One thing about this place is that the walls inside are only 7' tall.  There are cathedral ceilings through out.

A bit of new framing and in it went.  Then it was just a matter of closing it in again.

The front door that came out was one that I had installed myself and when I took it out I was careful and used it to replace the leaky back door.  Which brought us to this

The doors are nice and tight and the living room is much brighter with the patio door.  There was once a 3rd bedroom here, but the walls for that disappeared one day while I was at work.  The room was barely big enough for a bed and Sally (correctly) thought the room would be better as part of the living room.  So she tore most of it out.

Of course it looked pretty ugly like that.  So here we go again tearing off another section of siding.  

We made sure all the insulation was good, replacing and rearranging it as needed.  Then again with the 7/16 exterior OSB and then a layer of 3/4" exotherm.

Oh the pool, the pool is great.  We are on our third one.  The first one got replaced, under warantee, for free, when the dog ate it.  Yes, that is true, we were moving the first one from one home to another before we moved here and had drained it.  While we were moving a load, the dog, who chewed on everything when she was young.  Tore the pool up.  Sally called Intex, told them what happened, they asked for a section around the plug so she sent them that and they couriered out a new bag.  Awesome service from Intex!  I would recommend one of these things to anyone.  It is just perfect for 2 people to float around on when it is hot and sunny out.  The dog, well Aggie, who has been in some of the pictures, is gone now.  We like to think our dogs win the puppy lottery when we get them.  They get loved and spoiled and protected and taken care of and eat real home made food.  I will post a few more pics as I come to them.  

I seem to be on a bit of a tangent right now, but what the heck, I don't have any particular agenda other than to keep up my journey in wood working/making.  I have found that I am going through my photos now, which are in chronological order with this digression, but it is all part of the trip.  Besides, now that I have started this, I am wanting go through the photos and get the foundation laid. 

 Thanks for dropping by and listening

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Digress? Who me?

Oh my, another week has slipped by.

I have been dreaming and working on plans for the new shop.  16 x 20 insulated and heated with electric service.  From my conversations with one gas/electric contractor I should have no problem getting a 60 amp service and a small natural gas heater in there.  I spoke with the engineer down at city hall and picked his brains a bit on what I need on some spans for floor and roof.  A few weeks ago I went to the Home Building Centre in Clinton and the guy there printed off a plan for a 16 x 24 garage and I can glean most of the information off of that and turn it in to the city for the building permit.

So, plans......well I have to admit I went back to the old method.  I went shopping before Christmas last month and picked up a T square, a couple of triangles and a scale and went old school.

Here is the elevation views of the shop

300 square feet may sound large, but once you see it with doors and windows you realize that it is going to be a small shop indeed.  I will have to be careful about organizing and keeping neat.   Still, much larger than the garden shed!  Oh, and the little title I put on the dad's name is Dennis, so Jim's Den seemed a neat fit for the drawing.  

This seems to be the place where a lot of building goes on.  There have been more than a few times that large sections have been removed from the house.  Now, let me be upfront here.  Our home is a mobile home.  A 1986 Redman 14' x 75' model.  It also is in a small park that could have up to 38 units in it and looks like what you think when you think "trailer park".  Luckily, we are tucked in around back and we face on to the Bayfield river.

The first time I tore apart the house was back in May of 2004.  Just after our first year anniversary of living here.  You see, the front bedroom (the one with the desk in it now) was a bit breezy.  The windows were horrid and there was a funny triangle jut out that was all leaky and it was a big mess.  So I tore it all out.  I went from this. 


to this 

to this

to this on the first day

If you notice, the home is built with 2x6 for the walls.  Very nice, more insulation, more strength.  Not your usual method of building a mobile home.  Of course, just because I did not get it totally closed in the weather decided to have a bit of fun and storm.  There was a tornado not far away too.  It was a bit of a tense evening trying to get tarp and plastic up in the wind.  We survived though and the next day we did a bit more work.  After framing I added some OSB and then a layer of polyisocyanurate insulation/house wrap with foil faces.  This makes my walls nice and tight and about an R 25 or so.

The whole house has since had all the siding torn off and the same layers of OSB, insulation, and new siding put on.  The house is extremely rigid, quiet, and easy to heat.

Of course, new windows were part of this project.

A couple of double hung vinyl windows.  A worthwhile investment for sure.  By August we had picked out some siding and I got that done.

So, that solved one problem in the house.....there was also putting in the patio door, finding a leak in the roof in the back, and then getting the whole roof replaced.  The building has been going on since we got here.  This is our home and we are really enjoying it.  It is way cheap to live in too.  We just paid it off in 2014, so our living expenses are really low.  We are also on the banks of the river, and despite what the view is getting here, once here we see

May in our yard with the river in the background.  I love the spring here.

and a shot of the river, which will be pretty close to what I will be looking at when I look out the double window on the end of the shop.  Where I plan to put the work bench.

Well, that was a little rambling and scattered. I did not know where I was going with this one.  Just like every time.

  I am trying to sit and compose a story as I go.  Sometimes the direction goes it's own way I suppose.

Thank you for stopping by

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Desk

We bought our home from my wife's brother in the winter of 2003 I think it was.  One evening I came home from work, and the closet had been torn out of the end of the front bedroom.  Not one to back away from something that needs doing, my wife had very efficiently removed the sliding doors and then the partition that framed them.  It was not built very well.

  We decided that a built in desk would be nice in this room.  I guess you would call it the guest room now that there are no kids at home.  This was my first foray into the world of Sketch Up.

Now Sketch Up is a fantastic and powerful 3-D drawing tool that does amazing things.  One of the things it does to me is give me head aches.  Every time I want to do anything with S/U, I have to go through a whole tutorial on line to figure out how to do it.  Then I usually make an error in something and trying to fix it results in whole strings profanity.  For those who are good at this type of thing, it is a wonderful tool.  I am a little clumsy when it comes to computers and making them do what I want them to do.

So, I did come up with something with it.  It was great for figuring out how big to make things and getting everything somewhat proportional.  The plan for the top of the desk was....

A large bookshelf with lots of storage.  I needed the desk itself though, so out to my "workshop" and start making some side panels and a top.

OK, maybe workshop is not the right word.  It is an old leaky home built garden shed that was here when we moved in.  But I did make some side panels and a top.  My material was all rough sawn pine barn board.  It can be bought pretty inexpensively and I think looks just wonderful after planing and finishing and a couple years of mellowing.  We both love pine, and our home has a cottage feel to it that we like.  The whole wall (and others in the home) is panelled in pine.  Then I started to build in the desk.

Some stringers to hold everything at the proper spacing and to attach it to the wall.

Then add the top, which is just screwed to the centre stringer to allow for movement across the grain.

The stringers are all notched in, and the bottom one replicates the plain base board that will be added later to the rest of the room.  You can also see how the panels are all made to look thicker too.

Then it was on to building the top bookshelf.  I wanted to experiment with the joinery, as I wanted it all exposed.  It was a bit of work on the table saw with figuring out the distances to set the fence, but I think it was worth getting a bit of a unique look.

Now a couple of those shots of the joinery were taken after it was installed.  First there was a bit of gluing up to do.  This stretched the limitations of my clamps, and, of course, since there is no real shop, the living room was the only spot to do it.  First I made some cauls/alignment blocks to help.

Then start gluing

Take a bit of cupping out of the board to get it in the dado

Lots of time waiting for glue to dry before going on to the next glue up

It slowly starts to look like the plan

and gets put in place

The finish is all Tung oil with a wipe on poly on top.  Just a satin sheen.  We have used it a lot and re arranged it a few times.  Now, here in the early part of 2015, with the side wall painted and the by pass doors installed, a bit of living in, added crafts, books, hobbies and other stuff, this is how it looks.

Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, January 12, 2015

The logo

I have always liked the guitar.  Both acoustic and electric.  I play a little bit and not well, but that by no means diminishes how I feel.  There are loads of great players and songwriters that have come and gone that have taken me to other places with their music.  We all have our favourites, mine are many.  From the ones every one has heard about like Page, Hendrix, Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, to more obscure players like Lonnie Mack, Robin Trower, Frank Marino and many many more.  Suffice it to say, I am slightly enamoured with the instrument.

I always wanted to build one.  Something traditional, yet unique.  I had some material around and started with some ash that I had milled up from a tree that I took down in the yard.

How many wood working projects start out with "I cut down a tree"?

It took me about 18 months to get it all together and finished.  I bought the neck and built a semi-hollow, hard tail (non-trem) strat.

All throughout this build I kept thinking about what I would call it.  Having grown up in the mid-north of Ontario, I have always enjoyed the call of the loon and I suppose, in a moment of nostalgia, I decided to make it part of my logo.  But still that did not give me a name.  Of course everyone who makes or plays a guitar wants "tone", which is an entirely subjective thing, so that was part of it.  There was also that loon which always lives near water, and I was also born in a water sign.  So I ended up with Watertone.  Not one of the great mysteries of life, but, that is where the name came from.  As far as the model name for the guitar?......Well, there is the song that Zep does, but also, after putting in 18 months of fiddling around, it was quite capable of being one if it didn't work out.

It turns out, it sounds great and I love the feel of it.  There were many firsts in this build for me.  My first bookmatch.  My first try at making and using templates with the router.

Here is the ash back glued to the maple core:

The back is bookmatched too, and is a copy (a layer down in the tree) of the top.  I did have to cut in access for the electronics in the back.

I was a bit nervous about the critical neck/body joint, when I got it done and test fit it together (without glue, screws, or any other fastener) it ended up fitting beautifully!

This project was also my first foray into wood dyes and French Polishing.  I read a lot on it and also found a great You Tube series named Steve's Guitar Making that shows a neat acoustic build and great instructions on French Polishing.  Here is a link to his build:

I don't know him at all, but I do owe him thanks for his video.

I did some trading for a set of Texas Special Pickups.  Got the Allparts SMO-FAT neck ordered with some tuners on it.  A bunch of odds and ends from various places.  All in all, one of my most satisfying builds, and the birth of something called Watertone.

Again, thank you for stopping in.  We will see you next time with some more background projects.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Starting in the past

I am not a writer.

I am not very computer literate.

Bear with me, I hope I can get this to all work.

I got hurt some years ago, and lost enough ability to stop me from doing what I loved for a living.   You see, I was always somewhat mechanically inclined.  I started out working in various mechanical fields.  I worked on transports, and cars and mining machinery.  Growing up in Sudbury Ontario during the 70's and 80's I had to learn to fix just about anything as work was hard to come by and I could not buy new.

With a young family starting out, I moved to London Ontario to try my luck at the greener grass that is (was) the huge manufacturing sector.  I worked various jobs mostly in the automotive parts manufacturing and was working in a fairly highly skilled position setting up, maintaining, and running equipment that made bearings.  Then one day my knee did not like moving a heavy bin of product and let go.  Complications with a DVT delayed surgery and I came out of the operating room in worse shape than I went in.  I now live with pain every day, and phlebitus from the DVT makes wearing a compression stocking to keep the blood flowing necessary.

But I lost more than my ability to walk normal and do the things that years of experience had made me pretty good at.  I kind of lost myself.  My whole identity up to that point was that I fixed things.  I could make them run well, and make them look good doing it too.  I loved making things run.  I liked to tinker and experiment and I was in a pretty good place to do it too.

Then I lost it.

That is the sad part of the story.

Turn the page.

I am someone else now.  Not sure who but I am experimenting.  I can't find a job at what I am good at, because I can't physically do it any more.  I don't have very many other skills.  But, I have lots of interests.

Woodworking has always been on my list of things I liked.  Tinkering too as I alluded to earlier.  Fate and time have come together to allow me the opportunity to build a small shop.  I am going to experiment and try to learn some new skills.  This spring will be the ground breaking and I hope to get lots of pictures of the build, maybe video too if I can find a camera.  I hope to put it together and join a growing community of internet woodworkers/makers that have inspired me.

I have a few things that I have made while getting on this path.  Until the shop build starts I will post some of my projects that I have already completed or are in progress.

For the first entry though, this is it.  It was difficult getting things down and organizing my thoughts.  I hope I get better at this.

oh, a logo I came up with a few years ago.

More later, thanks for stopping by.